Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati’s newest policy to enable conventional media and excessive (OTT) platforms to buy archival contenthas landed in controversy with a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) writing to Union minister for data and broadcasting Anurag Thakur, asking him to cease it.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP S Ventakeshan, who represents Madurai, Tamil Nadu, has written to Thakur calling the transfer “disgusting”, and claiming that “marketing of historical treasures may have an adverse impact on the polity and tranquillity of the country”.
Prabhu Chawla, editorial director on the New Indian Express, too, questioned the transfer. “If it is true, then how can PB sell India’s recorded history to private players including foreigners? Would GOI [government of India] pay the foreigners for its future use? Brits took away earlier records. Now this? Who is an insider working for outsiders,” Chawla wrote on Twitter.
Responding to criticism, Prasar Bharati chief govt officer (CEO) Shashi Shekhar Vempati mentioned the policy in question was being misinterpreted. “There is no such decision. A recently notified policy for syndicating content rights seems to have been misinterpreted,” he replied on Twitter.
Vempati additional clarified that the copyrights for all of the footage will stay with Prasar Bharati. HT on Saturday reported that Prasar Bharti is planning to enable satellite tv for pc TV channels and web streaming content suppliers the choice of buying archival content that dates again to earlier than the Independence, a transfer meant to enhance revenues and digitisation.
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The content features a trove of wealthy footage, such because the constituent meeting debates and of moments that have been important milestones for the nation. These might be syndicated to bidders by way of an e-auction, the notified policy mentioned.
“The policy will ensure that archival and premium content of Prasar Bharati is syndicated to third parties through an open and transparent mechanism of e-auction in order to fetch the maximum market value of content on demand basis,” Prasar Bharati mentioned in a notification dated October 8.
“Prasar Bharati, the Public Service Broadcaster has played a key role in modern times in preservation and promotion of Indian culture, history and values. This has been the key factor in content creation since [its ] inception. Prasar Bharati has accumulated rich and heritage content in its centralised repository at archives as well as a number of stations, kendras located in all corners of the nation. News division of AIR (All India Radio) & DD (Doordarshan) too have an illustrious recording of many important milestones of development of India,” it added.
“The TV channels as well as the new channels on OTT (over-the-top services) are continuously looking for good saleable content. This has created a demand for programme content of Prasar Bharati in India and overseas for the purpose of broadcast as well as streaming on Digital Platforms,” the notification mentioned.